Where's the inclusion?

4th February 2005 at 00:00
It seems to me that there has long been a serious anomaly in our education system which now may be brought into the open, and that is the issue of "inclusion".

The rhetoric of inclusion has been loud and long, but there is a massive gap between that and practice. How can we really be an "inclusive" school and society and at the same time preside over a system that is "exclusive"?

We have schools you can go to only if you pay enough. Schools you can go to only if you have the right aptitudes (or is that attitudes?).

Schools you can get to only if you have the right postcode.

I wouldn't know whether David Bell meant to open up the whole debate that will inevitably come about following his comments about Muslim faith schools and the need for social cohesion. I welcome it nonetheless.

If we are to believe that schools are about building a better and more cohesive society, then we need to be clear about what kind of schools we need to do this.

Having been a headteacher (permanent and interim) in eight inner-city schools and seen at first hand issues of exclusion in all its senses, the sooner we have this debate the better, and especially before the Government charges ahead with any more "faith academies". The time for getting to grips with what "inclusion" really means is fast approaching.

Dennis Jordan Consultant headteacher 10 Vernham Road Plumstead London SE18

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